EDD 2022 - European Development Days: making the event accessible to all

EDD 2022 - European Development Days: making the event accessible to all

Organised by the European Commission, the European Development Days (EDD) bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

The 2022 edition took place on the 21st and 22nd June with a specific theme: “Global Gateway, building sustainable partnerships for a connected world”. Through high-level sessions, they explored geopolitical, financial and geographical aspects in particular the Global Gateway flagships’ impact in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, the Indo-Pacific and the EU Neighbourhood. In addition to these Global Gateway sessions, there were additional events on key topics such as health, education and research, climate and energy, digital, and transport.

EDF has been engaged with the organisers of the EDD regarding accessibility for the past four years. Specifically, following the 2018 EDD, EDF and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) made an official complaint about accessibility issues, signed by 12 organisations and representatives of the disability movement. This was followed in 2019 with a second official letter, highlighting the barriers encountered by persons with disabilities and providing a list of recommendations. In early 2020 we were engaged in a dialogue with the European Commission and EDD organisers where it looked promising that we would see significant improvements.

The 2020 event was cancelled because of the COVID. The 2021 EDD was fully online, with limited technical accessibility, despite our request for a truly inclusive event.

This year, for the EDD 2022, EDF engaged once again with the organisers from the beginning, offering advice and suggestions for online and onsite accessibility.

This year EDF recognises the effort and the commitment of the organisers. It was great to see lots of improvement to create an accessible environment ensuring that all participants were able to fully engage in the event. Based on the list of concerns raised by EDF and the International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) after the previous in-person edition of the 2019 EDD, this year we had an accessible venue, accessible toilets in several locations (no password needed), a practical “Accessible Note” on the website, a specific field regarding reasonable accommodations in the registration, captioning and sign interpreters.

There are still things to be improved in order to make the event fully accessible to all, but EDF and IDDC are willing to collaborate and support the organisers with number of suggestions for the next EDD 2023. For instance, the International Sign Language Interpretation can be provided upon request, but captioning should be provided in all the different sessions; an Awareness training on accessibility should be given to all staff involved in the EDDs. EDF also encourages a more inclusive approach for persons with intellectual disabilities in the coming years including making an easy-to-read programme and website – Listen, Include, Respect a resource by Inclusion International and Downs’ Syndrome International provides useful and practical guidance.

It is our expectation that all meetings and events sponsored by the European Commission must be accessible to people with disabilities in all their diversity.


For more information, please contact Roberta Lulli – roberta.lulli@edf-feph.org